A close by-election is expected to take place to replace a councillor who suddenly resigned amid a stormy week at Bolton Council.

Bernadette Eckersley-Fallon stepped down from her Westhoughton North and Hunger Hill seat during a week that was marked by One Kearsley leader Paul Heslop’s surprise resignation and his two ward colleagues Cllr Debbie Newall and Cllr Melanie Livesey’s move to Labour.

Candidates have now been put before voters, who will go to the polls next month with Ms Eckersley-Fallon’s Conservative Party having selected former Westhoughton North and Chew Moor councillor Andrea Finney as a potential replacement.

Conservative leader Cllr Martyn Cox said: “We’ve all been working very hard for her, Andrea is an incredibly popular member of our group and she’s been a very well regarded councillor previously.

“So we’ve all been working and will continue to work very hard to get her elected.”

The Bolton News: Conservative candidate Andrea FinneyConservative candidate Andrea Finney (Image: Public)

Ms Finney had served for a two-year period from May 2021 up to this year’s elections on May 9.

She will be aiming to take the seat held until October 2 this year by Bernadette Eckersley-Fallon, who was first elected in 2019.

Ms Eckersley-Fallon was originally elected as a Liberal Democrat for the old Westhoughton North and Hunger Hill in that year’s election.

She announced in April 2021 that she had decided to switch parties to the Conservatives.

The Bolton News: Liberal Democrat candidate Deirdre McGeownLiberal Democrat candidate Deirdre McGeown (Image: Public)

Her former party now say that they have high hopes of taking the seat, which now has one Liberal Democrat and one Conservative seat each while the third lies vacant.

They have selected Deirdre McGeown, who represented Westhoughton South between 2019 and 2023 to fight for the seat.

Liberal Democrat leader Cllr Roger Hayes said: “Of course it was a seat that was held by someone who was originally a Lib Dem but then defected.

“We know its looking like a tight contest but we’re quite hopeful.”

ALSO READ: Second Bolton councillor resigns in the space of a day

ALSO READ: 'Hard-working' councillor quits to join rival party

ALSO READ: Night of high drama at Bolton Council's local elections 2023

Labour has no elected representatives in the ward as it stands but have selected Karen Millington as their candidate.

The Bolton News: Labour candidate Karen Millington, seen here with Cllr David ChadwickLabour candidate Karen Millington, seen here with Cllr David Chadwick (Image: Public)

A statement said: “Karen is a working mum and lives locally with her family in Westhoughton and believes in the best standards for everyone, families, children and neighbours.

“With a passion for her home town Karen wants to protect the beautiful green belt, work with various community groups to improve maintain and protect the local environment and also support local businesses.”

Standing for the Green Party Wendy Ann Shepherd, who stood in Hulton at the last local elections.

The by election is set to be held on Thursday November 16.